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King Tides, Clear Skies, Meteor Shower Peak for Washington / Oregon Coast - Maybe 100 per Hour

Published 12/10/23 a 5:15 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

King Tides, Clear Skies, Meteor Shower Peak for Washington / Oregon Coast

(Westport, Washington) – This week, you can really say the stars and the planets are aligning just right along the Washington coast and Oregon coast. King tides kick back in for another session on December 13 - 15 (Wednesday through Friday), there's the peak of a meteor shower happening on Wednesday and Thursday, and skies will clear up to varying degrees to watch it all. (Rockaway Beach at night / Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

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King tides are, of course, the product of the sun, moon and Earth aligning just right to create an extra pull on the planet's tidal forces, creating higher-than-normal high tides.

Then, as the Geminid meteor showers are still firing off above us, their peak comes on December 13 and 14 in the early morning hours of nighttime. It could create as many as 100 streaks per hour.

The other good thing in alignment is that weather along the Oregon coast and Washington coast clears up on Tuesday, and stays fairly clear overnight when the peak begins. Other areas of the south Oregon coast and north Washington coast may differ slightly.

All this means there is much to do on the beaches during the day and the night.

Washington and Oregon officials want you to photograph the high tides of Wednesday through Friday as part of the King Tides Project. Then, submit them to the project for the state they were taken in.

On the Washington coast, submit them to https://mycoast.org/wa. On the Oregon coast, submit them to www.oregonkingtides.net or the project’s Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/orkingtide/albums.

Along the Washington coast around noon, high tides will often be around 10 feet. High tides on most of the Oregon coast are about that height range but at 8 a.m., although farther south high tides are more like 8 feet or so.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), those three days are predicted to have fairly sunny to partly sunny conditions, which will make for decent photographing.


Yachats at King Tides / Oregon King Tides Project

Offshore waves will be fairly calm, however, with wave height less than ten feet. That translates to not particularly manic conditions, so king tides may not to be regal in size.

Above the beaches (and for those in Portland, Medford, Pendleton, Seattle or Tacoma), that's where the big show could lie.

According to Jim Todd of Portland's OMSI, if skies are clear we could be in for a truly stellar display.

“This is the one major shower that provides good activity before midnight as the constellation of Gemini is well placed from after 10 p.m. onward,” he said. “For 2023 a waxing crescent moon (1%) will make it easy to view most of the shower.”

See Washington Coast Weather - Oregon Coast Weather

They are often extraordinarily bright, Todd said, and they continue to be active until about Christmas eve.

“Geminids are pieces of debris from 3200 Phaethon, an asteroid with unusual characteristics in that its orbit looks more like that of a comet than an asteroid, and has been referred to as a 'rock comet,' “ he said. “In recent studies done with NASA's STEREO spacecraft, dust tails have been observed and in 2010, Phaethon was detected ejecting dust. The Sun’s heat may be causing fractures such as mud cracks in a dry lake bed.”

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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Keywords: Oregon coast, weather, Washington coast, astronomy, meteors, science